The main advantages of Maglev transportation systems are freedom from friction, maximum ride comfort, maximum safety, high cruising speeds, low noise pollution, no formation of particulate matter, no pollutant emissions, low maintenance costs.
With Maglev technology, there are no moving parts. The train travels along a guideway of magnets which control the train's stability and speed. Maglev vehicles have set several speed records and Maglev train systems can accelerate and decelerate much faster than conventional trains; the only practical limitation is the comfort of the passengers and increasing energy consumption at higher speeds.
There are two types of Maglev systems for high speed passenger transport. High speed Maglev such as the Transrapid and the JR Chuo Shinkansen have travel speeds of up to 600 km/h. By contrast, urban and regional Maglevs are designed for speeds of up to 200 km/h.Maglev systems can also be used for fast container freight traffic. These Cargo maglev systems use other floating techniques.
Hyperloop systems are a special application case of Maglev systems. With hyperloop, Maglev vehicles are accelerated in vacuum Pipelines. Such hyperloop-systems could eventually be suitable for container freight traffic in some cases. However, for the passenger's transport hyperloops are seen very critical, because considerable security problems and maintenance-intensive, technical requirements
Overcoming air drag, which makes all land transport more energy intensive at higher speeds, takes up the most energy. The power needed for levitation is typically only a small percentage of the overall energy consumption of a high speed maglev system.
Along medium range routes (up to 1000 miles) Maglev can compete favorably with airplanes. Maglev Systems are also quieter and smoother than conventional trains, and have the potential for much higher speeds.
While high-speed maglev infrastructure is relatively expensive to build, maglevs are much less expensive to operate and maintain than traditional high-speed trains or airplanes.